The didgeridoo, or drone-pipe or Yidaki, is the only wind instrument actually made by the Australian Aboriginals, as opposed to the conch-shell trumpets which are an adaption of a natural article. The didgeridoo was used only by tribes of Northern Australia and was made from a length of hollow wood, usually a tree eaten out by termites or bamboo. Their length varied from 1.5m-5m. The sound made by these instruments varied from a deep resonant tone to a higher note which sounded more like an echo. The range of music played varied considerably with the ability of the player, but a skilled artist had the ability to play both a melody and an accompanying beat concurrently with the one instrument. Traditionally the finest didgeridoo players began training as children. The sound is also affected by the size and shape of each instrument.

It is quite possible that the didgeridoo is the world’s oldest wind instrument. The instrument was originally found in Arnhem Land in Northern Australia. It was used as an accompaniment to chants and songs and in some tribal groups they were only played by men. The first didgeridoos were thought to be made of bamboo, which was abundant in the Northern Territory where observations of strange trumpets were first made by R. Etheridge Jr. in 1893.

It has been claimed that the instrument can be used to produce a wide range of sounds including those similar to the calls of animals and birds, but it is best know for the complex rythyms it can produce. To get a sound, you need to vibrate your lips by loosely holding them against the mouth and blowing air over them much like playing a brass instrument of today.

The didgeridoo is thought to have had many purposes to the Aboriginals over the years. They are thought to have used it for bird and animal decoys, casting spells, basic musical entertainment purpose, for traveling songs, and ceremonial performances.